Blog on the Bus pt 17 (soothsaying)

Good evening traveller. The number-1 bus (staying at the in-laws tonight in a different part of Southampton) is a touch quiet this late afternoon (most sensible buggers booked NYE off – God knows why i didn’t). So it’s just the 2 of us (forgive me for bursting into song).
Around this time each year, some will declare their decision to change their attitude to life. They will proudly declare “this year I will give / take up [insert comment here].” These buffoons know before a single syllable has departed their lips that there is a 99% chance they will fail to maintain this new life choice and will continue where they left off the previous year. Now I’m not one to believe in statistics (73.4% of all statistics are made up anyway, apparently) but I know from personal experience that this one is true.
For me 2012 was a year with plenty of highlights (check out my Christmas Blog for a full list) but it has also been a year of great personal heartache for me and my family. Things are not likely to improve for some time yet on that front too. So I won’t be making any radical promises this January. I don’t smoke or do drugs (apart from the occasional junior disprol) and whilst I do enjoy a glass of Cabernet Shiraz from time to time (all writers need booze to be creative – it’s a fact!), I don’t think I’ve reached that point where I’m pouring vodka on my corn flakes just yet, so you won’t see resolutions from me.
I will make you this one promise: I am not gonna let the buggers grind me down! I am going to release my next novel (working title is Dead Drop) and I am going to strive to live my life to the full. It’s not a resolution, it’s a fact! There is so much pain and hurt in this world that if you choose to dwell on it, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When Big Ben strikes for the final time this night, stand tall and declare ‘Thank God that year’s over!’ I know I will be.

Thank you for all your support in 2012. Until next year, happy reading (pass me a tissue driver)

Stephen

Advertisements

Christmas Blog (no bus in sight)

Good morning all, I ho-ho-hope you are having a fantastic Christmas break. I’m not due to catch my usual number-4 route for a couple of weeks and wanted to take this opportunity to share a few personal highlights from 2012.

First off, I survived the end-of-the-world (winner!). I don’t need you to congratulate me, it was nothing, no really, it was nothing! If you’re reading this nonsense then you survived too (yay for you!).

In terms of my writing, I published my third and fourth novels (Redemption and Snatched) as well as my first short story (The Perfect Tonic). Also, I breached the 15k sales barrier and had my second novel Remorse in Amazon’s Top100 chart for 8-days. A definite high for any writer. I have now been a “published” author for eighteen months and the creative ideas continue to flow so the end is not yet in sight, which is a blessing for 2013.

My third highlight (work-wise) has to be the blossoming relationship I have with my core readers. Fundamentally, without readers I would just be a madman writing crazy ideas (what do you mean by “that’s what you are”?). Through Twitter, Facebook and this here blog, I’ve been fortunate enough to make several new friends who always seem willing / able to offer a kind word when my writer’s confidence takes an inevitable nosedive. To you (yes, you!) I say a massive THANK YOU! It’s a bumpy ride being a writer and nothing levels the road more than positive feedback or a generous review.

There have been too many highlights to mention with my little family and little Emily is still my proudest achievement (more than my books!) She continues to amaze me everyday and she is my raison d’être and the reason I continue to drag my sorry ass to work each day (I have no idea what the donkey does while I’m in the office but he always smiles when I come out).

So what will 2013 bring? My next novel is set for release in June and I promise you it will be well worth the wait. There’s also a possibility of seeing my paperbacks on the shelves of a well known high street retailer (I’ll share more news when I have something concrete, I don’t mean a paving slab). Whatever happens in 2013, I hope you will be with me along the way.

Thank you for your support this year, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Stephen

Blog on the Bus pt 16 (usual suspects)

It’s odd isn’t it? How you can go through life seeing the same faces day after day and not really knowing anything about them?
As I sit on the 4X this evening (I like to pretend the ‘X’ is a kiss from the bus company, like you’d put at the end of a card) I recognise several of my fellow passengers but couldn’t even tell you their names. I like to name each familiar face myself and when I’m not blogging on the bus, I am imagining their back stories (if you don’t already do this I highly recommend it as a time-passer).
Take for instance Gladys (this is not her real name you understand, or at least I assume its not, I really don’t know). I see Gladys on the morning and evening journey on the bus. She is a tall and slightly-built woman who sits at the front of the bus on one of those granny-seats that face sideways instead of forwards (I’ve never understood the point of those seats as they’re higher than your standard and most elderly passengers would probably struggle to reach the top). Gladys has what I can only describe as a nest on the top of her head and I assume she has it permed in that way (“short back and sides, Madame with a perm on top? Certainly.”). Anyway, what I do know about her is that she works for the council (she wears a badge), sports a pair of wire-framed glasses and smokes like a chimney (sparks up a cigarette as soon as she tastes clean air). That is all I know. However, in my mind Gladys is a part-time librarian (she has that “librarian look” if you can imagine) who lives alone, other than the army of cats she describes as her “family”. She has been married but she killed him when she discovered he was having a fling with his secretary. The body has never been found…
I am sure that Gladys is probably very nice (despite her icy exterior) and is well-liked by her friends (despite the two sparrows inhabiting that thing on her head). It doesn’t matter who she really is because in my world she is something very different. Why don’t you give it a go yourself? It’s much more fun to imagine what those usual suspects in your life do, probably more interesting too.
I even bet some of you picture me as a talented author who knows what he’s talking about? Imagination is much better isn’t it?!

Until next time, happy reading!

Stephen

Blog on the Bus pt 15 (flowing juices)

What gets your creative juices flowing? A good book? A chance encounter? A drop of brandy? An inspirational song? The reason for the question is: my juices are flowing rapidly at the moment but I’m not due to start my next major project in January (promised the wife I’d take a rest) so I need to find a way to keep them stoked without allowing the floodgates to burst. Having discussed the process with a tantra expert I understand it can be hard to keep a lid on things (pun very much intended!)
So what do you do? It’s like trying to keep a secret from a loved one (I’m thinking Xmas presents here and not extra marital activities). You are desperate to let it out but know you need to keep it bottled up until the appropriate time.
Answers on a post card please to the usual address “Number 4 Bus, somewhere in Southampton etc etc”

In the meantime I’d like to take this opportunity to bestow the merriest of seasonal greetings to you and your loved ones. If you’re anything like me you’ll already be counting down to the big day in eager anticipation.

Until my next bus ride, happy reading!

Stephen

Blog on the Bus pt 14 (back for good #TBSU)

Good evening, dear follower, and thanks for joining me on the number-4 bus this evening. My fingers are numb from being stood at the bus stop here in icy Southampton. It seems like an age since I’ve caught the bus, as following a bout of sickness the wife has taken pity on me (what do you mean ‘hard to believe’?) and been driving me in each day. Part of me wonders if she’s doing it to earn a bigger Christmas present. The crazy thing is I’ve already pushed the boat out this year for her. I can’t wait to see her face when she sees her £6 voucher instead of the usual £5. She really will know how loved she is, won’t she?
Anyway, where was I? Oh right, the blog. Well today’s mumbling are about not living up to expectation
As an Arsenal fan it has become increasingly difficult to watch my club going through such turmoil. Last night’s defeat to Bradford was almost unbearable at times. It got me thinking about the expectation that reading fans must put on us authors. They want to be entertained and gripped by our nonsensical scribblings. So how can we live up to the expectation? Easy: listen to them!
I’ve been lucky enough to become acquainted with some of my readers and interact with them over vital plot decisions and even potential book titles. They are eager to reciprocate and whilst they may gain satisfaction for being part of the creative process, I get the satisfaction of knowing I’m delivering what is expected of me. I would encourage every author to get in touch and get to know their audience. More importantly, listen to them!

Now for an important announcement. I’ve joined the blog scratcher’s union and hereby declare my oath and allegiance etc etc. TBSU is a group of bloggers who will actively look to promote their fellow scribblers’ blogs in an effort to increase exposure. Here are my recommendations to you:

#TBSU

http://arthurcrandon.wordpress.com/

http://janewenhamjones.wordpress.com/

http://mikethomasauthor.wordpress.com/

http://mayapanika.wordpress.com/

http://inspirationimport.wordpress.com/

http://craighallam.wordpress.com/

http://seumasgallacher.com/author/seumasgallacher/

I particularly recommend the last one on the list. Seumas makes me smile daily.

Until I next see you on the bus, happy reading!

Stephen

Blog on the Bog (awards were due at some point)

“Surely that’s a typo?”I hear you cry. “Don’t you mean bus and not bog?” Well, no I don’t, and don’t call me Shirley (baba dum tsh). I’m not catching the bus today but felt obliged to share some news so I’ve locked myself away from the wife and kids (for their sake as much as mine – my fault for eating curry!) and have sat down to scribe. Whatever you do, try not to picture me sat with my trousers down. Too late, huh? Never mind, on with the blog:

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, I’ve been secretly waiting for that first phone call / email / telegram to say “Mr Edger, we are proud to announce you have been nominated for ‘such & such’ award…” Well, it’s arrived (and about bloody time too, do I hear you chorus?), my first award since I started this writing lark. The award to which I am of course referring is…

The Liebster Award

Where to begin, there are so many people to thank…

…wait…sorry…what…you mean it’s not an actual award? Oh…ah…right. So I can’t suddenly start claiming to be an ‘award winning novelist’? Ah, I see.

So what is the Liebster award then? Can you supply a book of the rules?

Here are the rules:

•When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
•Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
•You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
•You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!
•You paste the award picture into your blog

Thanks for that, well here goes nothing:
•I’m a Virgo
•I have written and published 4 novels in the last 2 years
•I have attended fancy dress parties dressed as Optimus Prime, Jess the Cat and the ugliest woman alive (my bra was filled with flashing bicycle lights)
•My favourite condiment is tomato ketchup (I have it on nearly every meal)
•I wrote off my first car (a Ford Fiesta) but still have no recollection of what happened
•My first pet was a fish called Robert, meaning my porn star name would be the ever-so-sexy ‘Robert Browning’
•Whilst I’m naturally a brunette, my hair has been blonde, ginger, black, white and even blue over the years
•I’m NOT a vegetarian
•I can still recite all the words to Jonny Mathis’ ‘When a Child is Born’ even though I learnt it when I was 8 (some 23 years ago!)
•Similarly I can recite each of the colours of Joseph’s Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
•I have just uploaded 168 Christmas songs to my iPod as I love Christmas music

Right that’s the boring part done, now to answer Mr Gallacher’s questions:

What’s your earliest recollection of anything?
When I was 3, I chopped the end off the ring finger of my left hand by trapping it in a door. I still remember placing my hand between the hinges and the feeling of pain as the large oak door closed. I was rushed to hospital and they sewed it back on but I still have the scar.
How old were you when you were informed that Mister Claus may not be for real ? and how did you take it?
I think I must have been 9 or 10. My parents won a flight to Lapland on Concord and decided they had to tell me the truth when I spotted three Santas chatting together in a room. I didn’t mind as it had been a great dear and I’d driven a small sleigh, pulled my real reindeer.

What was the first book that you absolutely hated ?
That’s a tough one. I suppose I’d have to say Roald Dahl’s ‘Going Solo’. If been a big fan of stories like ‘The Twits’ but this was aimed at older children and I found it quite slow by comparison.

Money or Love ?
That’s a toughie too. When you have 1 you want the other. As I’m (happily) married and poor I guess I must have chosen love.

Fantasy holiday destination ?
The Bahamas, sipping rum cocktails while sun bathing on the beach. Heaven!

First kiss?
Her name was Susan and I met her at church

Favourite funny person?
Love Peter Kay and Michael McIntyre but the person who makes me laugh most every day is my 2 y/o daughter Emily

What kind of music, if any, makes you cry?
I love cheesy music and my playlist tends to reflect my mood. If I’m feeling down then love ballads from the early nineties tend to do it as they were what I cried to during adolescence.

If you could remove any three letters from the alphabet what would they be, and why?
Random! A, E and I as words would sound really funny without these vowels

Favourite animal/pet?
I love dogs so favourite pet is a tie between my now deceased German Shepherd ‘Rudi’ and my current Westie ‘Mallow’

If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to ?
My nickname at work is ‘Stedge’ as there are 3 of us (out of 7) called Stephen/Steven. If I could change my name I’d be called ‘Lawn’ for comedic value.

So, now it’s my turn to ask the questions. Let’s make this brief as I’m running out of loo roll.

1. Who let the dogs out?
2. What would you be if you were a car part and why?
3. What alcoholic beverage can you not live without?
4. How many days are there until your birthday?
5. What causes you to wake in a cold sweat screaming?
6. Would you rather be blind or deaf and why?
7. What would your superhero name be and what would your special power be?
8. What is your favourite movie?
9. What song would you be embarrassed to say you like?
10. What is the meaning of life?
11. What will this week’s Lotto numbers be (asking for a friend)?

I don’t know who to nominate for this award so nominate yourself and post your answers. I really want to know (particularly the answer to q11)

Until we next catch the bus, happy reading!

Stephen